THE PROBLEM:    In May 1997, Lexmark International, Inc., introduced a "Prebate" marketing program for its Optra S printer cartridges.  The Prebate program prohibits the cartridge user from sending the cartridge to a remanufacturer once its first useful life is complete.  The customer is instructed to either send the cartridge back to Lexmark or throw it away.  Only 30 percent of those cartridges make it back to Lexmark.  The remaining 70 percent are wasted.

      Not only is this program a blatant attempt to eliminate competition, it is also a disincentive to recycle.  Lexmark has threatened lawsuits for any remanufacturer caught with a Prebate cartridge.  Since its introduction, the Lexmark Prebate program has created a classic "David and Goliath" battle, with small scale printer cartridge remanufacturers fighting a multinational company to ensure that they can compete fairly in all printer cartridge markets.

THE SOLUTION:    Support the 6,000 small businesses that make up the printer remanufacturing industry in their fight with this wasteful giant.  Nationally, printer cartridge remanufacturers employ 30,000 people and divert more than 35,000 tons of waste per year from landfills.  They are a vibrant and growing part of the recycling industry.  We should not allow them to be driven out of the market.

      We can stop the Lexmark Prebate program in its tracks by:  1) convincing government and large corporate purchasers to voluntarily stop purchasing Lexmark Prebate cartridges or legislating that they do so;  and 2) moving the US Federal Trade Commission to investigate Lexmark for anti-competitive practices.

      For more information on this GRRN WasteMaker Campaign:  Lexmark, please read GRRN's "Lexmark - Just the Facts".


      You can help by taking the following steps.  Please keep GRRN informed of what you're doing so that we can help you, and so that we can track the campaign's progress.

  1. DON'T LET YOUR COMPANY OR AGENCY PURCHASE LEXMARK OPTRA S PRODUCTS.   Once you buy the Optra S printer, you may not be able to get remanufacturable cartridges.  So to avoid the Prebate cartridge, don't buy the printers until Lexmark ends the Prebate program.  If you have Optra S printers, insist on remanufacturable cartridges from Lexmark directly.

  2. WORK TO PASS LEGISLATION. The State of New York has introduced legislation (AB 10868 and SB 7562) that would not allow a manufacturer to restrict the recycling or remanufacturing of a product it sells to the state and provides a purchasing preference for recycled or remanufactured products.  Use this model to ensure that your purchasing dollars support the cartridge remanufacturing industry.

  3. WRITE THE U.S. FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION.  Urge FTC to investigate the Lexmark Prebate marketing program .  Use GRRN's model letter or write your own.  Write to: 
    Chairman Robert Pitofsky
    Federal Trade Commission
    6th and Pennsylvania Avenue
    Washington, DC    20580

  4. WRITE LEXMARK.  Let Lexmark's CEO know that you do not appreciate its wasteful, anti-remanufacturing Prebate program.  Pledge not to buy any Lexmark product until the company discontinues the Prebate program.  Write to: 
    Paul Curlander
    President and CEO
    Lexmark International, Inc.
    740 New Circle,
    Lexington, KY    40550

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